When Moses finished the work, the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting and the presence of the Lord filled the Tabernacle. Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting because the cloud had settled upon it and the presence of the Lord filled the Tabernacle.
Passover is the holiday of getting unstuck. The Israelites lived in slavery for hundreds of years in Egypt, completed dominated by Pharoah and his regime. But the message of the biblical Exodus is that what is, now, does not have to be what is in the future.
It was not the assumption of different gender roles per se that I found disturbing. One could argue that such expectations were well-negotiated over centuries. It was the invisibility that irked, the taking-for-grantedness of the contribution of women to the sacred home enterprise.
These ashes are much like the things in life that didn't work out the way we intended them, the fallout of the unsavory things we have done that we wish we would never do. Sometimes no one else sees these burnt pieces of our lives.
We live in a busy, noisy world of multi-media overload, fast-paced online communication, and expectations of increased personal and professional productivity. Technology and social media have revolutionized how we communicate with and what we expect of one another.
Judaism is often described as a religion of law, an identity that it shares with Islam. But it is perhaps more accurate to consider Judaism as a religion defined by its commitment to embodied practice and experience.
Megillat Esther, which we read on the holiday of Purim this week, is a flamboyant, even farcical tale of good and evil. Its characters on the face of it are caricatures of human virtue and vice: Achashueras the foolish king who sits on the throne but exercises no true leadership or authority.
This Shabbat, the weekly Torah portion embraces the consecration of the priesthood to God, and the special designated Torah reading for the Shabbat prior to Purim, known as Shabbat Zachor, commands us to remember/not forget our encounter with Amalek, who sought to destroy us.
The main reason I resist it is that I reject the very premise of the holiday: choosing an arbitrary time for the compulsory enunciation and celebration of love. After all, do I love my spouse, my mother, and other family members any more on February 14 than I do the other days of the year?
This week's Torah portion, Mishpatim, comes on the heels of the Ten Commandments and begins delving into more detailed prescriptions for our actions. In some cases, its behavioral requirements seem immediately accessible and relevant.
Common wisdom has it that much violence in the world is driven by religious passion. Though there is good reason for this claim, deeper reflection reveals a more complex picture of what religions have to say about relationships with the enemy.
R. Simcha Bunim of Przysucha (1765-1827), one of the great Hasidic masters in Poland, explained it by breaking it into two parts. The letter shin is a prefix meaning "that", and "dai" means "enough". She dai would mean, "that [which] is sufficient."
In the Torah portion for this week (Vayigash), Joseph, having grown in power and influence in Egypt after his brothers left him for dead in the desert many years before, now reveals his true identity to his assembled siblings.
Rabbi Katy Allen teaches that Hanukkah is a time to rededicate ourselves to the holy and hard work of responding to climate change. She writes that we "increase our holiness by rededicating ourselves to reducing our carbon footprint."
Reading Tamar's story in light of recent events in Ferguson and Staten Island, as thousands of people take to the streets to demand changes in our justice system, the Torah poses to us today this question: What happens when those in power fail to acknowledge their errors?
Vayishlach begins with our hero on the run. Recall that Jacob emerges from his mother Rebekah just moments after his twin brother Esau; in adulthood, with his mother's help, he tricks his blind father Isaac into giving him the blessing intended for the firstborn.
This week, we celebrate Thanksgiving -- which for many of us is less about gratitude and more about consumption, consumerism and perhaps some family discord. Dedicating time to be grateful is hard; American culture doesn't help us much.
Reading this week's Torah reading is almost physically painful. The parasha (Torah reading) -- named after "Sarah's life," but beginning with her death -- begins with the elaborately described process of Abraham's acquiring a burial place for his wife.
The Maggid would ask us to apply this way of thinking to the world around us as well, and to our own lives. His teaching calls us to examine even seemingly ordinary moments, and to sense how holiness and The Divine dwell within them.
As descendants of Abraham and Sarah, both wanderers and welcomers, may our individual and communal homes be open to strangers, and may our hearts be open to the possibilities that strangeness can awaken within us -- wherever we go, wherever we find ourselves.
In order for there to be a second Creation, the first one is undone: The skies darken to hide the light, the waters come together to cover the land, the plants and animals -- except for those lucky enough to be on the ark -- perish.
We have parents, spouses, teachers, critics, publicists and therapists. And most important, we have each other, to be supportively critical, and to help us ask ourselves the really hard and thus the really important questions.